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Many species of albatross are facing a decline due to illegal and unregulated longline fishing. The Wandering Albatross is one of the most vulnerable due to it's wide foraging range which takes it further north into the fishing grounds than other species. Populations of Wandering Albatross are declining at an estimated 1% per year, exposing them to probable extinction within the century if nothing is done to protect them. These photos are of the four species that breed on Macquarie Island.
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Photo 1. Black Browed Albatross pair courting. Pair of Black Browed Albatross performing courtship rituals. The Black-Browed Albatross mates for life and these pairs return to steep hillslopes of Macquarie Island each year to breed.
Photo 2. Black Browed Albatross. Portrait of Black Browed Albatross during breeding season on Macquarie Island. These large seabirds canlive up to 70 years.
Photo 3. Light-mantled Sooty Albatross calling to a prospective mate.. Light-mantled Sooty Albatross performing courtship calls and rituals from a prospective nesting site. Once a possible mate is attracted they perform intricate tandem aerial maneuvers to bond.
Photo 4. Light-mantled Sooty Albatross Perched on nesting site. Light-mantled Sooty Albatross nesting on the rugged cliff tops of Macquarie Island, deep in the Southern Ocean. Light-mantled sooty albatross are the most abundant breeding albatrosses on Macquarie Island, with approx 1000 breeding pairs.
Photo 5. Grey Headed Albatross nesting. Grey Headed Albatross perched on tussock grass nest on Macquarie Island.
Photo 6. Grey Headed Albatross. Grey Headed Albatross head shot of bird nesting on Macquarie Island
Photo 7. Grey Head Albatross. Grey Albatross on Macquarie Island.
Photo 8. Wandering Albatross. Wandering Albatross on Macquarie Island.
Photo 9. Wandering Albatross Juvenile. Wandering Albatross juvenile on it's nest, on the coastal flats of Macquarie Island. The chick is so large (12kg when it leaves the nest) that it takes just over 12 months to develop fully. This means the breeding cycle stretch over 2 years.
Photo 10. Wandering Albatross Chick. Wandering Albatross Chick on it's next, on the coastal flats of Macquarie Island.
Photo 11. Wandering Albatross Chick. Wandering Albatross Chick on it's next, on the coastal flats of Macquarie Island.
Photo 12. Wandering Albatross. Wandering Albatross showing off it's massive wings. They have longest wingspan of any bird and can measure up to 4 metres in span. They rarely flap in flight, instead gliding on the air current created by the wild ocean seas.
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